CFOs decry dollars spent on health careNews added by Benefits Pro on June 13, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

To a typical enterprise chief financial officer, spending money on health insurance is just downright annoying. At least that’s the sense one gets from the feedback the Harris pollsters got when they queried 137 big company CFOs about the cost of offering coverage to employees.

Harris did the survey on behalf of Castlight, a vendor of benefits products and services. When asked whether lower health insurance costs would encourage them to redirect precious corporate dollars to other areas, the resounding response was “Yes!” In fact, 81 percent said they thought the money devoted to health insurance could be better used elsewhere within the company.

About nine in 10 CFOs surveyed said that if their company’s health care costs were lower, they could afford to pay higher wages and salaries to their employees (93 percent) and/or invest more in innovation (88 percent).

When asked if they could realize a substantial savings along the lines of 30 percent of current health insurance spending, here’s what these sharp pencils would do with the extra dough. They were allowed to select more than one option from among the menu items in the survey:
  • 50 percent said they’d redeploy a portion of the savings from the health insurance line item toward higher wages;
  • 49 percent said they would spend it on improved technological infrastructure;
  • 49 percent said they would spend some of it developing new products and services.
But most of these CFOs believe such a redirecting of budgeted dollars is but a pretty pipe dream. Four out of five said they had no power to change the way employee health insurance dollars are allocated.

“Health care spending is the problem for enterprises; in fact, you can say health care is an American business disease,” said Giovanni Colella, co-founder and CEO of Castlight Health. “The Enterprise Healthcare CFO Poll revealed these senior executives recognize the opportunity in front of them — both for their business and for their employees — with better management of health care spending.”

Also read: Employers still in the dark about PPACA costs

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